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Minnesota House says U.S. should trade with Cuba

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Under the watchful eye of Minnesota Twins baseball great and Cuba native Tony Oliva, the Minnesota House approved a resolution asking the federal government to end a trade ban with Cuba.

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However, despite the overwhelming 86-9 favorable vote, many Republicans refused to vote as a protest of Cuba's human rights history.

Rep. Bud Heidgerken, R-Freeport, said others have worse human rights violations. "I find China much more of a threat than Cuba and we seem to have an open relationship with them."

The bill asks the federal government to end the 40-year-old trade embargo, which in 2000 was amended to allow limited sale of food, medical supplies and medicine. Rep. Al Juhnke, DFL-Willmar, said Minnesota sold $20 million worth of those items to Cuba last year.

Juhnke, who recently visited Cuba as part of a state trade mission, said lifting the trade restrictions would help the Cuban people.

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Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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